gossip-averse liberal political news sources: all killer, no filler?
October 23, 2014 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Hoping to find at least one ostensibly liberal news website that has not yet collapsed into a pit of Buzzfeed-ification or gossip column nonsense masquerading as current events. I don't want to read about the latest offensive off-the-cuff remark made by some random state representative or Joe the Plumber or Sarah Palin or any other totally irrelevant GOP-friendly media personality. I only want to read in-depth stories about U.S. politics with a liberal bent: candidates, issue positions, polls, all that fun stuff. Can you help?

Talking Points Memo has been my one-stop shop for news since ~2003, but for the past year or so, it's been looking a lot more like a damnable tabloid. As a fervent news junkie who loves to obsess over polls and yammer about state politics, I've found the loss of TPM nearly unbearable, so I'm looking for something to fill the gap as election season reaches its most feverish pitch.

My dream website features:
• Little to no blatant sexism (no referring to Michelle Bachmann as a "crazy bitch," no 'hot or not'-style derails or posts about women politicians' sartorial choices)
• Broad national focus, with contributors who understand that people, even Democrats, can and do live hundreds to thousands of miles away from the ocean (no backhanded derision toward "flyover country," this is IME depressingly common when it comes to liberal news sources)
• No reader comments at all, or at least a comment section that can be zapped out of sight with AdBlock or NoScript
• State and national poll tracking with regular updates
• A moderately to strongly liberal professional editorial voice
• Zero, zip, nada, NO coverage of the latest 'zomgz our political enemies said something outrageous, let us gather 'round to talk about how horrible they are and how great we are in comparison' ordeal unless what was said/done has actual ramifications in the real world
• No mention of any former or present FOX News anchors at all, ever
• Seriously, if my eyeballs even scan past another worthless non-story about the "Palin family brawl," my head might actually explode

A one-person blog is probably my least ideal solution, but I'm willing to give it a go if it's really, really good and there's absolutely no dumb gossip.

Links and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, MeFi!
posted by divined by radio to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
In my opinion, you've got to step outside the USA for any reasonable perspective.

For me, that's the United States desk of The Economist.

I learned more useful information about the Florida governor's race from them than I was able to get from CNN or MSN or (devolves into teeth-gritting about Ariana Huffington).

The Economist won my heart by being entirely fair to Mitt Romney while still making him sound like the awkward, out-of-touch plutocrat he is.
posted by Kakkerlak at 2:21 PM on October 23, 2014 [10 favorites]

posted by empath at 2:22 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks, Empath. I was re-reading the OP's affection for poll tracking, and Five-Thirty-Eight are at the top of the game.

I stopped reading TPM as well, and went back to check... sure enough, snide remarks about Reagan and the South, and the prominent phrase "Palin Brawl".
posted by Kakkerlak at 2:26 PM on October 23, 2014

Nothing to add. TPM is ... gah.

The economist is good (and has daily podcasts.)

Although not particularly liberal, the Christian Science Monitor tends to do decent reporting. (Their stories are so short though, sign of the times.)

At this point, I can't think of anything that meets your (or my) criteria for a daily news source.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:08 PM on October 23, 2014

ThinkProgress? In These Times? I dunno how far left or not-daily news-y you're willing to go, but... Jacobin?
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 3:24 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm feeling Vox is pretty much what you're looking for. Slate's not a bad choice either. The New York Times's The Upshot is not particularly partisan, but pretty good.
posted by General Malaise at 4:06 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Al Jazeera is really quite high quality, covers international stories in a way that makes you a better world citizen, and they have a very liberal bent. The top story there as I type this is Ferguson, followed by some factual US political coverage, the lack of ISIS penetration into Kashmir, and the Jerusalem riots.
posted by zug at 4:25 PM on October 23, 2014 [7 favorites]

Yeah, what the hell happened to TPM? Is it a monetization issue?
posted by leotrotsky at 6:14 PM on October 23, 2014

I guess it depends on what "liberal" means. But quality liberal outlets could include:

- Democracy Now
- Truthout
- Truthdig
- Common Dreams
- The Real News Network
- Counterpunch
- Pacifica Network
- The Intercept
- Counterpunch
- Alternet
- Salon
- The Nation
- Indy Media
- Firedoglake
- Tomdispatch
- Mother Jones

And, if you're feeling adventurous, a bit more left than that:

- Z Net
- World Socialist Web Site
- Jacobin (mentioned upthread)
- Socialist Worker

International news also has great coverage of America, often, especially since they don't mind being more oppositional, and frequently don't have (as many) ads:

- Al Jazeera English / Al Jazeera America
- RT
- PressTV

I would also recommend finding commentators you like, perhaps not necessarily affiliated with a regular real-world publication, and following their blogs.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 9:35 PM on October 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

Are podcasts okay? Because if so, I can completely recommend my favourite, Citizen Radio, a community-sponsored political podcast that can be a bit profane, but quite critical of their fellow progressives. They also don't tolerate any homophobia, transphobia, classism, Islamophobia, ableism, fat-shaming etc and are atheists often angry at White Male Atheism. Jamie and Allison are feminist vegans who know when to go funny and know when to get to serious (and angry). Allison used to write for The Nation, but got frustrated how progressive the site really isn't (*cough Michelle Goldberg cough*) so quit last year.

Anyway, maybe something you might be interested in?
posted by Kitteh at 3:34 AM on October 24, 2014


The Plum Line (a Washington Post blog, but IMO some of the best analysis out there)
The American Prospect
Washington Monthly
Mother Jones
Vox, but with reservations. You kind of have to avoid some writers (I don't like Matt Yglesias much) and stick with good ones (I think Sarah Kliff is awesome).

People worth looking up and/or following on social media, since they blog or report for multiple websites:

Adam Serwer
Jamelle Bouie
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Greg Sargent (main correspondent for The Plum Line)
Michael McDonald (poll-reader extraordinaire)
Jonathon Cohn (second only to Sarah Kliff for healthcare commentary)
Jonathon Bernstein
posted by zombieflanders at 6:28 AM on October 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'm on the same page as zombieflanders, although I think the OPs question brings up an underlying truth: there is no one-stop-shop, and you really need to skim and sample various sites to get a fair read of the current circumstances. Twitter is helpful. I do still look at TPM's front page, although the comment thread re: Bristol Palin yesterday was astonishing and embarrassing and makes me want to hand in my lefty card. Plum Line is probably my favourite current (believable) site of analysis. I'm just not as enthralled by Nate S as in bygone days.
posted by peacay at 8:55 AM on October 24, 2014

Seconding Washington Monthly for excellent, straight up political reporting - it's almost certainly what you are looking for. I also like Al Jazeera though.

Another one that you might check out is Hullabaloo. She isn't a comprehensive source, but is one of my go-to sources for thoughtful and in-depth commentary.
posted by susanvance at 9:25 AM on October 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Agree that TPM has become awful. I think it's monetization; things seemed to tank when they introduced the "TPM Prime" subscription thingy.

The Economist has a definite free-markets-as-gospel aspect, but their sheer competence and depth still can be compelling.
posted by werkzeuger at 11:56 AM on October 24, 2014

Steve Benen used to write for Washington Monthly and he's now doing the Rachel Maddow Show's blog.

Disclaimer: I know him personally.
posted by evening at 1:36 PM on October 24, 2014

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